Who Is at Risk of Developing Colon Cancer?

April 28, 2011 - 0:0

When pondering the top culprits that contribute to the most deaths occurring from cancer, rarely does one consider the colon.

Though in all actuality colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer related deaths in the United States with nearly 50,000 per year.
This is a staggering number but, fortunately, it has decreased dramatically over the years (2002 had almost 150,000 deaths due to colorectal cancer), and with public awareness and early screening chances of survival are encouraging.
Who is at risk of developing colon cancer and what can help to prevent it?
- Ethnic background
African Americans have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer in the United States. Jews of Eastern European decent have the highest frequency of colorectal cancer in the world.
- Age
Since 9 out of 10 people who develop cancer-causing polyps do so after the age of 50, this is current recommended age to have a first colonoscopy. There is a certain genetic condition, which predisposes a person to excessive polyps and an extremely high risk for cancer. These individuals should begin being screened at puberty.
- Personal history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
If you have had a previous screening, which was positive for polyps, then you should be screened more often. Your Gastroenterologist will determine how often this should be done.
Individuals who suffer from IBD can have an increased risk of developing abnormal cells in the tissue of the colon. - Family history of colon cancer
Statistics show that incidents are higher if a first-degree family member has had colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps, but studies fail to show whether this is a genetic link, or possible similarities in lifestyle and environmental factors.
- Lifestyle
A number of health issues and lifestyle choices have been strongly linked to one's risk of colorectal cancer.
Certain comorbidities, such as diabetes, have been linked to colorectal cancer, as well as, lifestyle choices that can be controlled, some being:
- Smoking - Heavy alcohol use - Diets high in saturated fats - Inactivity/lack of physical activity
It is important to let your doctor know if you have any symptoms that could indicate a problem, such as, blood in the stool, changes in your usual bowel movements, or any sudden weight loss.
(Source: ezinearticles.com)